Trade Legislation Update

Dear Friends,

I am writing to let you know that there is a good chance that Congress will take some sort of action on trade issues in the near future.  Given the gridlock we have been living with in recent years, this is a positive (potential) development that companies should be ready for (in case it does not come around again).

The linchpin to the efforts is Trade Promotion Authority or TPA.  Trade Promotion Authority (also known as “fast track”) gives the President the ability to negotiate international trade agreements and then have them subject to only an up or down vote by Congress (i.e., Congress cannot amend or modify the international agreement).  This is seen by many as a prerequisite to concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations.

Congress is currently considering whether to provide TPA to the President.  If they do, then I expect we will see the TPP negotiations brought to a swift conclusion and the agreement presented to Congress for a vote.  The TPA legislation (if it is passed) may also present an opportunity to address other pending trade issues, such as renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences program and possibly tariff suspension bills (or miscellaneous tariff bills).

If you have not been paying much attention to trade legislation lately, it is time to start doing so again.  There is a realistic chance that some sort of trade bill will be coming down the pike soon.

If you have any questions about TPA, TPP, MTB or other similar issues, please let us know.

Best regards,

Ted

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